Before the present Great Recession, working people in the U.S. had already suffered a decades-long assault. Between 1973 and 2007 our real weekly wages dropped by 15%. By 2008 the average worker spent 20% more time on the job than in the 1970s. During this period, the amount we produced per hour increased by 50%. Our public services and safety nets were shredded while our pensions and social security were looted. We gave our blood, sweat and nerves in greater portions every decade for ever declining compensation.
But this massive robbery was not enough to keep the gears of profit turning. Nor did the trillions of dollars spent on wars or gambled away in speculative ventures keep U.S. capitalism competitive. After all the pain inflicted by the corporations and their political partners, the whole machine still broke down.
In what was supposed to be the final indignity, we were forced to shell out trillions of dollars to the same banks that helped usher in the dark ages. The result? Millions more of us are torn from our jobs to join a sea of the unemployed. Over 20% of workers are now under or unemployed! Our wages and benefits are slashed over and over again. Our homes are taken out from under us, our credit is cut, our education and public services disappear before our eyes. Those of us who still have jobs are working harder than ever to hang onto our remaining islands of security.
We are told by the president that it is time to tighten our belts. Yet, the banks don’t tighten their belts. The six biggest financial institutions paid their people $150 billion in 2009. And instead of investing in jobs and providing for human needs they are throwing money at the same types of speculation that paralyzed the economy only a year ago.
The war machine does not tighten its belt either. Instead it consumes record budgets and extends its terror deeper into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Haiti, Palestine, Latin America, Somalia, and beyond. These wars and occupations are not waged to protect working people in the U.S. or to liberate other countries. Their purpose is to defend the interests of the corporate elite.
The ruling rich cut our basic services and deprive us of employment, yet they find money to warehouse ever more of us in their prisons. Connecticut’s bloated prison budget will grow from $691 million in 2009 to $709 million for 2010. Already in 2008 the Pew center found that more than one in every 100 adults in the U.S. was in prison or jail – a record in U.S. history.
After all the promises of hope and change we are now told to expect less than ever before. Where has all the wealth we have created gone? Why, after all this, is our condition more desperate than ever?
The Electoral Charade and Our Solution
As elections approach workers will be treated to the greatest spectacle on earth. The Republicans will play the bad cop. The Democrats will play the nice cop. Crumbs promised by politicians will be hailed with more fanfare than the super bowl. The crisis will be glossed over. The enormous power of working people to transform our society will be denied.
The Democratic and Republican parties are both representatives of the ruling rich – the tiny circle of the ultra-wealthy who control our society by virtue of possessing the wealth we have created over the course of generations. These capitalists and their representatives are constitutionally incapable of offering a solution to the crises created by their system. They can only take more flesh off our hides, imprison and deport more of us, invade yet more countries, and intensify the destruction of our communities and our planet.
Their system is driven by the hunger for profits and organized by the chaos of markets. That which does not produce profits is of no consequence to them. When profit cannot be obtained, wealth will not be put to any use. When they run out of the means to extract profits their whole contraption seizes up or bursts. Socialist Action opposes the right of this tiny minority to rule society. We advocate the democratic rule of the majority organized on the basis of human need instead of profit. We are campaigning in support of a mass united movement of working people to fight for our common needs.
We call for placing the biggest banks and corporations under public ownership through democratic workers committees. This will allow working people to organize the economy in the interests of human need. We can eliminate military spending and massive waste in other sectors like marketing, bureaucracy, redundancy, and speculation. We can create full employment and shorten our work hours while increasing pay. We can reorganize the economy to rapidly slow the climate crisis by reducing world carbon emissions by 90% in a matter of years. Working people at the helm can do all this and much more.
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
The struggles for Black, Native & Puerto Rican liberation, women’s liberation, immigrant rights, and ending discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity are essential for the victory of all working class movements. As are the struggles of all oppressed groups. Such groups suffer the most intensely under capitalism’s rule. Their movements have always advanced and strengthened the causes of working people as a whole. Likewise, workers will never wield sufficient power to reorganize society while siding with the bosses in keeping other workers down.
Yes, We Can Change the World!
Socialist Action is small, but we are growing. And more important than the size of our membership, is the power of our ideas! Armed with the combination of our political program, our experiences, and the dedication of our comrades, we are confident that we can help make the world a better place. At times capitalism may seem all powerful, but at the end of the day nothing is made, and nothing moves, without working people. When working class and oppressed people choose to, we can and do have the power to make history! The revolution is calling will you join us?